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  • 19 mars 1988— 7 août 2018

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Untitled

Although, as previously noted, Rothko never abandoned bright colors in his works on paper, the vibrant late works on paper contain a force not experienced in the earlier small worksThese late creations, with their dense unmodulated surfaces, do not flicker with light; rather, they generate a strong, constant glow.(Exh. Cat., New York, American Federation of the Arts, Mark Rothko: Works on Paper, 1984, p. 54-55) Illuminating the room in a captivating shimmer of chromatic vibrancy and incomparable painterly finesse, Mark Rothkos Untitled of 1969 is an indisputably dazzling embodiment of the artists legendary color-field compositions. Emerging from a saturated ground of blazing scarlet, two fields of varied tonality, one a pearly white and the other a glowing orange, radiate the steady heat of glowing embers; built up of innumerable delicate strokes, these luminescent multiforms emphatically attest to the singular mastery of light, color, and form achieved by the artist in his revered corpus of works on paper. A rare, exquisitely vibrant example from a period characterized by a predominantly somber palette, Untitled exemplifies Rothkos work in a medium that bore an increasingly profound significance in the twilight years of his legendary career when, tirelessly seeking to broaden the horizons of his prodigious practice, he focused his energies upon exploring the absolute limits of painting on paper. Conjuring the radiant sublimity of his most esteemed monumental canvases, Untitled is amongst the most emphatic embodiments of Bonnie Clearwaters description of the late works on paper: Although, as previously noted, Rothko never abandoned bright colors in his works on paper, the vibrant late works on paper contain a force not experienced in the earlier small worksThese late creations, with their dense unmodulated surfaces, do not flicker with light; rather, they generate a strong, constant glow. (Exh. Cat., New York, American Federation of the Arts, Mark Rothko: Works on Paper, 1984, p. 54-55) An exquisite, jewel-like summation of the artists signature strategies, Untitled represents the breathtaking culmination of Rothkos career-long pursuit of aesthetic transcendence through the conflation of pure color and light. While predominantly known and revered for his corpus of towering abstract canvases, Rothko produced a number of exceptional paintings on paper throughout the entirety of his career which, in their subtly variegated hues and inherent luminosity, rank amongst the richest orchestrations of color within his prodigious output. Remarkable illustrations of paper's unique capacity to both absorb and reflect light, the vibrant hues of the late works are infused with an unprecedented vitality. Describing the significance of the medium within his oeuvre, Clearwater reflects: throughout his career, [Rothko] produced many lesser known works on paper which share characteristics with his canvases while exhibiting their own special qualities. These works.are essential to a fuller understanding of Rothkos career. Together with the canvases, the works on paper chart the artists quest for an elemental language that would communicate basic human emotions and move all mankind. (Ibid., p. 17)  In the late 1960s, after completing the two commissions whose magisterial brilliance cemented his status as one of Americas most revered abstractioniststhe Seagram Murals, and the Rothko Chapel paintings commissioned by John and Dominique de MenilRothko pursued the intricate subtleties of painting on paper with unprecedented focus. Evincing the artists incessant artistic probing, Rothko described the impetus behind this shift in his practice from canvas to paper with the following: to whom a certain medium becomes too easy and who runs this risk of becoming too skilled in that medium, to try another which presents more difficulties to them. (Ibid. p. 59) Against the ground of sumptuous crimson, the richly painterly forms of Untitled suggest both fevered motion and ethereal tranquility, emanating a bewitching tension that invites the viewer to lose him or herself completely in the diaphanous fields of unadulterated hue. Dominating the upper region of the canvas, the pulsating, feather-like edges of the glowing white rectangle push out into the red depth that surrounds them, resulting in a sense of undeniable movement and compositional vitality; in stark contrast, the glowing orange of the lower area subtly structures the composition, blending seamlessly with its red background and statically asserting its foundational presence. The work's resultant dynamism necessitates the viewer's constant attention and provides an elegant visual manifestation of the artists 1953 statement: "Either their surfaces are expansive and push outward in all directions, or their surfaces contract and rush inward in all directions. Between these two poles you can find everything I want to say." (Mark Rothko in 1953, cited in James E. B. Breslin, Mark Rothko: A Biography, Chicago, 1998, p. 301) Here, chromatic resonance is attained through the meticulous aggregation of translucent veils of brushed pigment, with especially close attention paid to the spaces between forms and the edges of the canvas. Both despite of and due to their stark disparity, the two color fields equilibrate: the shimmering, incandescent purity of the one is countered by the headier glow of the other as they reverberate over scarlet ground. Amongst the most spectacular manifestations of the artists work on paper, Untitled emanates a luminescent vibrancy utterly impossible to reproduce in illustration; to the viewer, bathed in its heady glow, it is almost as if this extraordinary painting is brilliantly illuminated from within, transformed from mere pigment into a translucent vessel of pure color and light. The following work is being considered for inclusion in the forthcoming Mark Rothko Online Resource and Catalogue Raisonné of works on paper, compiled by the National Gallery of Art, Washington. Signed, dated 1969, and variously inscribed on the reverse

  • USAUSA
  • 2018-05-16
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Sawyer

Franz Kline oil on canvas Painted in 1959. Embodying the extraordinary compositional balance of energy and restraint that catapulted Franz Kline to critical acclaim, Sawyer is the paradigm of the Abstract Expressionist artist's pictorial idiom. Like an immense architectural structure seen up close, Sawyer towers over the viewer with its all-absorbing, heroic scale. Kline's signature black gestures, etched as deeply into the landscape of post-war art as Jackson Pollock's “drips” or Barnett Newman’s “zips”, are here thrust across the vast canvas to form a grid-like structure. Painted in 1959 at the peak of Kline’s career, the painting exemplifies the artist’s seminal move toward color just three years prior. Subtle but dominated by black and white, the work is enlivened by gesturally painted impastoed passages of cream, ochre, peach, chalky whites and greys that infuse the composition with a soft, atmospheric tone. This gives rise to a sensation of infinite, limitless space, while simultaneously pushing the immense black form forward towards the viewer. In 1960, the same year Kline represented the United States at the 30th Venice Biennale, Sawyer was debuted in Kline’s solo exhibition at the Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, alongside some of the artist’s now most esteemed masterpieces, including Black, White and Gray, 1959, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Dahlia, 1959, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Orange and Black Wall, 1959, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and Orleans, 1959, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. The works exhibited here stand as remarkable examples of the bravura of Kline's late oeuvre, which tragically ended with his premature death just two years later in 1962. It is testament to Sawyer’s significance within Kline’s oeuvre that it was celebrated in the artist’s first posthumous institutional retrospective exhibition in the United States at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York in 1968-1969.Heroic GesturesIn its sweeping gestures, Sawyer powerfully speaks to the liberation of line that Kline achieved with his black and white paintings nearly a decade earlier. It was in 1950 that Kline, radically shifting from the small scale and semi-representational nature of his earlier work, achieved his mature style. According to none other than Elaine de Kooning, Kline famously arrived at his artistic breakthrough upon seeing the magnified proportions of his figurative brush drawings projected on a Bell-Opticon projector in Willem de Kooning’s studio. Towering nearly seven feet tall, Sawyer epitomizes the radical distillation of line and monumental magnification that had almost instantaneously catapulted Kline into the limelight of the then still emerging group of Abstract Expressionist artists encompassing Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell and Jackson Pollock, amongst others. Motherwell commemorated this pictorial innovation shortly after Kline’s death, noting “Kline’s great black bars have the tension of a taut bow, or a ready catapult. And his sense of scale, that sine qua non of good painting, is marvelously precise” (Robert Motherwell, “Homage to Franz Kline”, August 17, 1962, in Franz Kline. The Color Abstractions, exh. cat., The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C., 1979, p. 43). With paintings such as Sawyer, Kline amplified the intimacy of drawing on a monumental scale in order to, as Albert Bomie argued, “expand his sense of himself in the world – to sing at the top of his voice rather than speak in a hoarse whisper” (Albert Bomie, Franz Kline. The Early Works as Signals, exh. cat., State University of New York, Binghamton, 1977, p. 20).An American flâneurWhile the grid-like structure in Sawyer points to such non-referential precedents as Kazimir Malevich’s grid and Josef Albers’ square, Kline’s paintings are firmly rooted in his lived experience. Born in Pennsylvania’s coal-mining country in 1910, Kline moved to New York City in 1938 after studying in Boston and London. It was here that Kline became fascinated with the city's virile power as embodied in its towering skyscrapers, roaring automobiles and freighters and the industrial riverside structures in lower Manhattan. Though Kline rejected any claims to symbolism or literalism, his powerful abstractions are the distillation of the known and recognizable. As Kline himself acknowledged of the referential associations his beams conjured, “I think that if you use long lines, they become — what could they be? The only thing that they could be is either highways or architecture or bridges” (Franz Kline, quoted in David Sylvester, “Franz Kline 1910-1962”, in Living Arts, no. 1, 1963, p. 7). Kline’s refined abstractions of the urban environment speak to the lasting influence of James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s drawings of riverfront life in London in the early 1900s, which had already informed his early sketches of New York’s bridges and barges in the 1940s, as well as to Kline’s creative dialogue with his friend and photographer, Aaron Siskind. Whether evoking the architectonic tension of the modern metropolis, his native coal country or persons in his life, Kline’s crashing painterly paeans translate his individual experiences of the rapidly changing world around him into more existential meditations on modernity. Though the relationship of titles to paintings in Kline’s oeuvre are never quite clear-cut, Sawyer arguably recalls an episode that occurred in the artist’s studio in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Kline had purchased a house in this Cape Cod seaside village at the beginning of 1959 and it was here that works such as Provincetown II and Sawyer were painted in preparation for his solo show at the Sidney Janis Gallery in the following year. Renowned for its sparse natural beauty, Provincetown had attracted a number of Abstract Expressionists including Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, Adolph Gottlieb and Jackson Pollock, who rented the same cottage that would be Kline’s studio in 1944. According to Fielding Dawson, a former student of Kline’s at Black Mountain College, the formal resolution of Sawyer was achieved when a door in Kline's new Provincetown studio caught the artist's attention. Whereas Kline had previously been reworking the canvas without, frustratingly, achieving the desired composition, “midstream he changed his picture, painted a vertical, rather squarish rectangle, later called it Sawyer” (Fielding Dawson, An Emotional Memoir of Franz Kline, 1967, in Art in America 1945-70, 2014, p. 283). “Sawyer” was in fact the name of the carpenter who had built the door and with whom Kline developed a friendship. Though Dawson notes that this episode occurred in 1960, it undoubtedly refers to the present work’s creation as it is the only known painting with this title, and the related work on paper Sawyer Garden Barber was also created in 1959. Giving both a sense of pictorial depth and infinite space, Sawyer presents the viewer with an after-image of sorts — one that is anchored in abstraction, but simultaneously evokes, albeit ambiguously, the realm of the known. It is almost as though Sawyer distills Kline’s experience of contemplating the door in his studio anew; its architectural outlines distilled into elementary forms as though seen through eyes re-adjusting to the bright Cape Cod daylight filtering into the light-suffused studio. Painter in ActionAs with Kline’s greatest works, Sawyer pulsates with a palpable rawness and immediacy that suggests it to be the intuitive, quick and unrevised result of the artist’s full body movement. Yet, as Dawson’s previously mentioned anecdote underlines, Sawyer is in fact the culmination of a typically laborious process of continuous re-vision that recalls the painting method of Kline's fellow artist and close friend Willem de Kooning. “Some of the pictures I work on a long time and they look as if I knocked them out,” Kline acknowledged only to point out that, "The immediacy can be accomplished in a picture that’s been worked on for a long time just as well as if it’s been rapidly” (Franz Kline, quoted in David Sylvester, “Franz Kline”, 1960, in Interviews with American Artists, New Haven, 2001, p. 71). Though Kline’s great diagonals were seldom the result of a single inspirational impulse and often instead painted with small brushstrokes based on sketches and drawings across several sessions, they nevertheless expressed the ultimate attainment of an inner vision. As Kline explained in 1957, “If I feel a painting I’m working on doesn’t have imagery or emotion, I paint it out and work over it until it does” (Franz Kline, quoted in Franz Kline 1910-62, exh. cat., Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Turin, 2004, p. 110). Painting in Technicolor“It was Kline’s unique gift,” as Elaine de Kooning so poignantly observed in 1962, "to be able to translate the character and the speed of a one-inch flick of the wrist to a brushstroke magnified a hundred times. (Who else but Tintoretto has been able to manage this gesture?) All nuances of tone, sensitivity of contour, allusions to other art are engulfed in his black and white insignia, as final as a jump from the top floor of a skyscraper” (Elaine de Kooning, quoted in Franz Kline 1910-62, exh. cat., Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Turin, 2004, p. 345). Sawyer epitomizes how Kline’s embrace of color as a compositional element starting around 1956 heightened the sensation of utter monumentality and amplified the expressive force of his distilled slashes and slabs. Though Kline had already explored the potential of color sporadically earlier in his career with works such as Yellow Square in 1952, this uninterrupted return to color was a radical move for an artist whose signature black and white style was widely acclaimed as the ultimate formal embodiment of his abstract endeavors.Sawyer exemplifies Kline's particular interest in the subtle qualities of sand, ochre and gray hues. While there are passages of black pigment that collide sharply with the lighter passages, Kline here has allowed for diffused areas to arise where white, black and colored impasto mix together as he continuously slathered layer upon layer of paint atop each other with varying degrees of intensity. The feathered strokes loosen the composition and infuse it with a poetic ambiance, while the ochre, peach and cream-colored passages push the black grid-like form forward. At the same time, the subtle variances of hues within the black structure itself illustrate Kline’s expressed admiration for the great masters of chiaroscuro such as Velazquez, Tintoretto, Rembrandt and Goya.Whereas in 1956 Kline commented to art critic Leo Steinberg “I'm always trying to bring color into my paintings, but it keeps slipping away”, by 1959, the year Sawyer was created, he had arrived at an undisputed confidence in the tectonic co-efficiency of color in his compositions (Franz Kline, quoted in Harry F. Gaugh, Franz Kline, New York, 1985, p. 132). Looking back, Elaine de Kooning wrote of Kline’s triumph, “Then, as he kept struggling…his color made its breakthrough and entered the dynamism of his imagery as an equal actor. The stage was set, the new action had started” (Elaine de Kooning, quoted in Franz Kline Memorial Exhibition, exh. cat., Gallery of Modern Art, Washington, D. C., 1962, p. 18). Here was a painter at the peak of his creativity, ready to build on the pictorial innovations ushered in with works such as Sawyer — only to be tragically cut short in his ambitions by a premature and sudden death due to heart failure in 1962, at only 51 years of age. More than 50 years later, Sawyer still offers an awe-inspiring phenomenological experience, one that transcends the literalness of in its inception and becomes a more fundamental meditation on the precarious human condition in a fast-paced and ever-changing world.

  • USAUSA
  • 2017-11-16
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Tête de femme

Picasso’s dynamic, three-dimensional Tête de femme is among his most powerful interpretations of the human face and one of his strongest achievements in the medium of sculpture. This larger-than-life bust portrait conveys the model’s strength of character and imposing presence as a figure in Picasso’s life following the war. The model for the present work is the artist's lover and muse from this period, Françoise Gilot. Within the trajectory of Picasso's portraiture, Françoise's visage has come to signify a time of intense happiness for the artist. The two artists met in May 1943, while Picasso was still in his tumultuous relationship with Dora Maar, and it was not until 1946 that they settled in Cap d'Antibes in the south of France. The period that followed was marked by great personal fulfilment, during which Picasso was, probably more than at any other time, devoted to his family, including the couple's two children, Claude and Paloma. This happiness in private life spilled into the artist's work, resulting in a number of portraits of his muse and their children. With triumphant presence and exceptional confidence, Tête de femme conveys the sense of optimism characteristic of Picasso’s post-war oeuvre. Over the years Picasso's depictions of Françoise became increasingly stylized, often conveying a sense of fecundity and grace. Françoise's youthful spirit and her interest in art not only inspired Picasso, but also encouraged a new direction in his portraiture. The French photographer Brassaï met Françoise at Picasso's studio on the Rue des Grands-Augustins in December of 1943 and was instantly taken with the young artist: "Very young -- seventeen or eighteen years old -- passionate about painting, eager for advice, impatient to prove her talent... I was struck by the vitality of this girl, by her tenacity to triumph over obstacles. Her entire personality radiated an impression of freshness and restless vitality" (Brassaï, quoted in William Rubin, ed., Picasso and Portraiture, Representation and Transformation (exhibition catalogue), New York, The Museum of Modern Art & Paris, Grand Palais, 1996-97, p. 415). With Françoise by his side, Picasso gradually abandoned the high-keyed palette and distortive figuration that had dominated his wartime portraits of Dora Maar and embraced a more liberated approach. This sensibility imbues Tête de femme with elegance and clarity. The figure here adopts an almost formal pose, looking straight at the viewer.  As Frank Elgar pointed out: "The portraits of Françoise Gilot have a Madonna-like appearance, in contrast to the tormented figures he was painting a few years earlier" (Frank Elgar, Picasso, New York, 1972, p. 123). Her arresting gaze forms the focal point of the sculpture, engaging the viewer in an unavoidable dialogue. The present work was executed in Vallauris, a coastal extension of Antibes in southeastern France where Picasso lived from 1948-1955. Picasso’s Vallauris period was undoubtedly the most productive sculptural period within his oeuvre. From his legendary collages made with chair caning and newspaper to his sculpture of a bull's head made from a bicycle seat, Picasso's most ingenious works of art were often created from objects that he found in daily life. By the 1950s, he had taken this process a step further – assembling objects that he found in the environs of his home and casting them in plaster, and then casting the completed sculpture in bronze to unify the piece with a homogeneous medium. Picasso often made preliminary sketches of these works, which detail how he would implement the miscellaneous objects within the body of the composition. While working in his studio of Le Fournas in Vallauris between 1950-53, the artist executed a considerable number of these sculptures in the forms of goats, birds and other animals, creating a veritable menagerie from objets trouvés. Commenting once to his wife Françoise Gilot on this production, Picasso explained, "My sculptures are plastic metaphors. It's the same principle as in painting. I've said that a painting shouldn't be trompe l'oeil…but…trompe l'esprit. I'm out to fool the mind rather than the eye.  And that goes for sculpture too" (quoted in Françoise Gilot and Carlton Lake, Life with Picasso, New York, 1966). Tête de femme exemplifies Picasso's intentions to challenge the mind's perception of the visual. Tête de femme was cast in an edition of two at the Valsuani foundry; one unnumbered cast and no. 2/2. There is also an original in plaster and fired clay which measures 51 cm in height. Numbered 2/2 and stamped with the foundry mark C. VALSUANI CIRE PERDUE 

  • USAUSA
  • 2016-11-15
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Le peintre et son modèle

Painted in 1964, Le Peintre et son modèle is a powerful example of Picassos highly expressive late work on a magnificent scale. Throughout his career Picasso chose to paint subjects that represented his life as an artist, and the theme that came to symbolise his own life and work most evocatively was that of the painter and his model. The male figure, a recognisable amalgamation of self-portrait, paints a female nude reminiscent of the women seen in canvases by Rubens and Ingres. With its foundation in this trajectory of art history, Le Peintre et son modèle is a monumental and dynamic depiction of this historic theme. During the autumn and winter of 1964, Picasso executed an extensive series of paintings on the theme of the painter and his model. Le Peintre et son modèle was completed on 9th November, and is among the most monumental of the series of over forty painter and model pictures executed during this period. Picasso painted, drew and etched this subject so many times in his life that, as Michel Leiris has remarked, it almost became a genre in itself like landscape or still-life. In 1963 and 1964 he painted almost nothing else, the painter armed with his attributes, palette and brushes, the canvas on an easel, mostly seen from the side. Like a screen and the nude model seated or reclining in a space which presents all the characteristics of an artists studio, the big window, the sculpture on a stool, the folding screen the lamp, the divan, etc. All these stage props have nothing to do with Picassos real situation; he always painted without a palette and without an easel, directly onto a canvas laid flat. This is therefore not so much a record of his own work as an "epitome" of a profession (Marie-Laure Bernadac, Late Picasso (exhibition catalogue), Tate Gallery, London, 1988, p. 74). Throughout this series of large canvases, the figure of the painter almost exclusively occupies the left-hand side of the composition, while the nude female model occupies the right half. Never tiring of exploring visual means of depicting erotic tension, in the years to follow Picasso developed a number of variations on this theme, always characterised by a great spontaneity in brushwork and coloration, and an extraordinary creative energy. While in the later variations of this theme men and women are seen in assorted costumes and performing various activities, such as musicians or musketeers, in the 1963-64 series the protagonists are unmistakably the artist himself and the model he is painting. However, rather than dedicated solely to the process of painting and modeling, the two figures are involved in the game of seduction, with the artists brushes and palette wittily suggestive of the mans desire for his female subject and of the erotic tension between them. Picasso had devoted a large portion of his production throughout the 1960s to the reinterpretation of the old masters, an experience in which he reaffirmed his connection to some of the greatest painters in the history of art. His series of musketeers, commenced several years after Le Peintre et son modèle began, according to his wife Jacqueline Roque, when Picasso started to study Rembrandt. Picassos interest in Rembrandts work, however, was longstanding and its influence crucial to the development of the theme of the painter and his model in the late work. In 1963 he executed a large canvas entitled Rembrandt et Saskia (fig. 3), which Michael Fitzgerald states, was 'based on the Dutch masters portrait of himself and his wife (c. 1635; Dresden). Picasso had admired Rembrandts art (particularly his prints) since at least the thirties. During his last decade he showed a particular appreciation for two, apparently contradictory, aspects of his predecessors work the unflattering realism of Rembrandts late style, particularly self-portraits and depictions of the female nude, and the ornamental costumes of his early phase (M. Fitzgerald, Picasso, The Artists Studio (exhibition catalogue), Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford & Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, 2001-02, p. 57). The motif of the female nude fascinated Picasso throughout his career, providing the inspiration for many of his greatest works. In various periods of his life, Picassos art was closely related to his personal relationships and the women depicted in his paintings were always influenced by Picassos female companions at the time. In Le Peintre et son modèle, the female figure is inspired by Jacqueline, the last love of his life, whom Picasso married in 1961. Although she is not a direct likeness of Jacqueline, with her characteristic hairstyle and almond eyes she bears the key features with which Picasso usually portrayed his last muse. The essence of Jacqueline, who never formally posed as Picassos model, is always present in his portraits of this period, including the present work. Signed Picasso (lower left); dated 9.11.64. on the reverse

  • GBRGrande Bretagne
  • 2018-06-19
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Untitled

Painted in 2009 Rudolf Stingels spectacular mountain range wears the guise of cold disinterest and inhumanity. It is an inhospitable landscape and ersatz Caspar David Friedrich without the humaninsing presence of the Rückenfigur (a figure seen from behind). Desolate and forbidding, this work is nonetheless devoid of the traditional painterly signs of heightened emotion that would encourage a reading of the Romantic Sublime. In place of this there is a paradoxical banality about Stingels depiction of one of the most extreme and drama-laden landscape subjects on the planet: a quotidian demeanour that is located in the appearance of faithfully rendered signs of wear. Exuding a distinctly object-like quality, this is a painting of a photograph. With photorealistic veracity Stingel has reproduced in paint the granular surface of an old gelatine silver print; its deterioration and silver-mirroring; its negative scratches, dust, creases, and crumpled three-dimensionality of the original image-object. Indeed, this is painting in memoriam. Soft-focus and faded, Stingels source image is unmistakably vintage, much-used and badly preserved. Moreover, owing to the location photographed  the Tyrolean Alps  this painting is unmistakably autobiographical and tinged with remembrance. Belonging to a corpus of approximately twelve different yet equally monumental mountainscapes, Untitled was first exhibited with many others from the series as part of Rudolf Stingel: LIVE at the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin; one example from the series is owned by the museum. Together these pieces share nuanced signs of wear and individuated traces of age rendered in paint with minute monochrome precision. The result is paradoxically affecting: these works call upon the emotive via authorial absence and the mediating expression of process-based painting. It is this manner that the present work ingeniously reinvigorates Romanticism for the post-modern and post-photographic age. Born in 1956 in the Alpine town of Merano in Italy, Stingel grew up just a few miles south of the Austrian border; as a young man of 20 he would go on to do his national service there in 1976. Indeed, the present work is not the first or only instance of Stingels recourse to his alpine heritage: only three years before Untitled was created, Stingel had chosen his Tyrolean back-story as the subject for a giant self-portrait based on his military identity card. In Untitled (Alpino 1976) Stingel is dressed in uniform and wears a small beard a privilege afforded to Tyrolean alpine soldiers. The official nature of this image is destabilised and made peculiar however, by the young Stingel who, unusual for an official form of ID, has his eyes closed. Akin to the present work nonetheless, this painting bears the marks of its age and object-ness: the staple holes and regulation ink-stamp operate as mediators between artist as subject and the final painted image. Following years of exploring the remit of painting outside of recognisable imagery or traditional subject matter, the arrival of Stingels photorealist paintings marked a watershed moment in his career as an artist. Comprising immersive installation, employing the use of unlikely media and painterly materials, and inviting the hand of others into the execution of his work, Stingels practice has consistently tested the parameters of painting since the mid-1980s. In 1987 Stingel moved to New York and began his career as an artist. He developed a line of inquiry that, aligned with a concurrent backlash against neo-expressionist tendencies in painting, pioneered a process-focused approach to the medium. In 1989 he released his seminal Instructions: a limited edition artists book that explained in minute detail the process by which anyone could produce their own Rudolf Stingel artwork, namely the acclaimed series of monochrome Instructions paintings the series of breakthrough works that achieved the artists first critical acclaim during the late 1980s. Subsequently, Stingels practice developed along a conceptual approach to painting that considered the fusion of pictorial and architectural space using a host of non-traditional materials. In 1991 Stingel installed a bright orange carpet on the floor for his show at the Daniel Newburg Gallery, New York; two years later another orange carpet appeared on the wall at the 1993 Venice Biennale as part of the Aperto 93 exhibit. Interested in the human traces that these carpets preserved and displayed  marks he considers to be both autonomous and painterly  Stingel pursued this investigation further still with a number of floor-to-ceiling carpet and celotex installations that the general public was invited to touch, walk around in, and leave their mark upon. Then in 2000, he would begin the related series of immaculately white styrofoam paintings imprinted with tread-marks of the artists boots. Concerning these pieces, Stingel looked to expand both the activity of painting and its formal limitations: curator Gary Carrion-Murayri has cogently explained that in shifting some of the burden of artistic labour from himself to the public, Stingel is directly confronting the romantic attitude towards the painterly gesture that was a hallmark of Abstract Expressionism (Gary Carrion-Murayari, Untitled in: Exh. Cat., New York, Whitey Museum of American Art (and travelling), Rudolf Stingel, 2007, p. 111). When he began making a new series of Instruction Paintings circa 2002 works depicting ornate wallpaper and carpet patterns Stingel set his espousal of non-individualist painting against a paradoxical score of autobiography. The opulent designs of these works hark back to the Orientalism of the Northern Italian Baroque; the vestigial legacy of which is still palpable in the alpine town of Stingels birthplace, Merano. This juxtaposition of automated process with idiosyncratic narrative not only became the focal point of Stingels career from this point onwards, it also marked a seismic shift in the painters practice. In 2005 Stingel began creating monumental and hyper-real self-portraits. The incorporation of photorealism into his painterly vocabulary bound verisimilar images to the artists previously abstract investigations. Based on a series of carefully choreographed vignettes captured by photographers Roland Bolego and Sam Samore, these works established Stingels re-presentation of a picture of a picture. As in Untitled, the self-portraits enlarge and transmute pre-existing photographs into paint on canvas, and in doing so articulate a decidedly post-modern response to authenticity, referentiality, and semblance. The legacy and lifes work of Gerhard Richter is an unavoidable comparison here. Beginning in the 1960s Richter looked to assert the critical agency of painting in an age of photrographic reproduction by mimicking its aesthetic: the artists blurred Photo Paintings forged a revolutionary new pathway for painterly abstraction and figuration via an approach that simulated the mechanical, privileged chance, and rejected authorial expression. Indeed, Richters paintings successfully function, not as a backlash against the camera, but precisely because of it. In light of this, Stingels self-portraits, his portrayals of Baroque religious sculpture, and the mountain scenes are undeniably indebted to Richters indomitable legacy. The difference, however, is the way in which these paintings square up to emotion and individualism. Within their hard-edged conceptualism and Richter-esque rigor there lies is a deeply autobiographical impetus. Stingels first large self-portrait was exhibited at the Whitney Biennial in 2006 around the time of his fiftieth birthday. Whilst the series of works that followed only infer a narrative rather than actualising one, the artists anguish and despondence at this mid-life point act as an underlying subtext. This inherent sense of isolation and emotional disconnect is reflected in the clear and impassive aesthetic of these paintings. Devoid of gestural expressivity yet highly introspective, the turn to self-portraiture whether in the guise of self-images, Baroque religious sculpture, or sublime vistas of his native mountainous Tyrol underscores the deeply contemplative and even existential bent of Stingels art. The mountains thus seem to circle back to a distinctly Romantic evocation of feeling. However, rather than instilling awe in the face of sublime nature, the muted greyscale aesthetic, its faithfully transcribed markers of age and deterioration, and its evocation of the past, impart a dynamic of psychical melancholia. In Untitled there is an evocation of something lost, an irrecoverable past that is couched in the artists own biographical recollections. Stingels reference to himself is nonetheless interrupted by intermediary authorship; by using and painting photographs taken by someone else, these works remove, to quote Carrion-Murayari, the possibility of insight into the artists psyche (Gary Carrion-Murayari, 'Untitled, in: Exh. Cat., Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art (and travelling), Rudolf Stingel, 2008, p. 112). Indeed, twice removed from the artist through staged photography and the hands of studio assistants, Stingel achieves a poignant level of detachment from his work. This is the means by which Stingel has been able to insert a vision of himself within his paradoxical post-authorial painterly trajectory. Depicting a crumpled vintage photograph that has been re-photographed and enlarged, its inconsistencies, faded tonalities, and soft-focus greyscale faithfully transcribed, this work bespeaks a deep nostalgia that enunciates the passing of time. In Untitled we are presented with a post-Richter recuperation of the Romantic in the guise of automated painting. The emotional void and clinical focus of Richters work with its aim to paint like a camera has been recovered and overturned by Stingel in the form of a deeply emotive expression of collective melancholia: a psychical living death and attachment to what has been lost and what no longer is. Stingels is an artform increasingly concerned with salvaging something of the emotional quality that was filtered out of artistic gesture during the latter half of the Twentieth Century. Having spent a career exploring the limits of painting via base materials and traditionally non-art mediums, Stingels photorealistic works present an eminent and natural extension of this established and acclaimed career arc. Within the memory traces marked upon his carpets, styrofoam paintings, celotex installations, and more recently in the guise of the painted-photographic, Stingel invokes human presence through its very absence and ruin. As resolutely qualified by Untitled, the work of Rudolf Stingel is concerned with painting as an index for the passage of time. Signed and dated 2009 on the reverse

  • GBRGrande Bretagne
  • 2018-03-07
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Sculptures

La catégorie Sculpture affiche des sculptures larges et autonomes qui sont mis en vente aux enchères. Les matériaux varient et incluent le marbre, bronze, plâtre, plastique ainsi que d’autres métaux. Les plus petites sculptures et parfois les bustes peuvent aussi être trouvés dans la catégories Objets d’Arts.